Saturday, March 9, 2013

S'more Mini Cupcakes

It turns out that s'mores are an American treat that has not made it across the pond.  In fact - over here we can't buy graham crackers or Hershey's chocolate bars, and even big marshmallows are hard to find.  So when I got my Smitten Kitchen Cookbook this fall, I was pretty excited to find a recipe for a s'more cake inside!  I made it last fall with some imported graham crackers, and it was pretty delicious, but I thought it might be even better in bite size form.  And while the frosting was delicious and super fun to toast with a blow torch, it didn't really taste like marshmallow to me.  Below I've adapted the recipe to be made into mini cupcakes, with British ingredients - ie I've replaced graham crackers with digestive biscuits.

I'll admit this cupcakes don't quite taste like s'mores, but they are delicious and cute!  And with the little bit of extra frosting, I recommend making a British homemade s'more in the process - layer up a digestive biscuit with some chocolate, pipe on some of the leftover marshmallow frosting, and torch it up.

Note - the frosting recipe below does require a candy thermometer.  If you want an easier approach - just buy a jar of fluff - I've heard you can find it at Tescos here.

S'more mini cupcakes

Cupcake ingredients:
113 g (8 Tb) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
½ cup (95 g) dark brown sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1 cup flour
1 cup (85 grams) graham crackers or digestives, finely processed to a powder or mashed by hands as much as possible  (about 7 full graham crackers or 6 digestive biscuits)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter milk (or 1 cup milk plus 1 Tb vinegar, let sit for 5 minutes)
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar

Make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350f or 176c , and grease mini cupcake tins (or line them with paper cups).
1. In large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. 
2. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition.
3. Whisk dry ingredients together in small bowl
4. Mix a third of the dry ingredients into the batter, followed by half of the buttermilk, alternating back and forth and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing between additions.  (Note the batter may look slightly separated, this is ok!)
5. Mix in chopped chocolate.
6. Fill up cupcake tins almost to the brim and bake for 13-15 minutes until top springs back when gently pressed.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  If they are difficult to remove from tins, try running a knife around the edge.

Chocolate frosting:
¼ pound chocolate – milk or dark chopped up
87 ml (or 3/8 cup) “whipping cream” (in the UK) – or heavy cream in the US
1 pinch salt

Make chocolate frosting:
1. Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl. 
2. In a small pot heat up cream and salt to a simmer, then pour over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.
3. Whisk until smooth.  If the chocolate doesn't fully melt, add a little gentle heat until its smooth, but be careful not to burn it!  (Burning it can cause the chocolate to separate).
4. Dip the top of each cupcake into the melted chocolate.  You may want to place parchment under wire rack, and these may drip. (Alternatively if you want to keep the kitchen cleaner, let the chocolate cool for ~30 minutes, then spread it onto cupcakes with an offset spatula/knife).

Marshmallow topping ingredients:
2 large egg whites
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
(Candy thermometer)

Make the Marshmallow topping
1. Place egg whites in a clean, dry, medium sized bowl.
2. Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small pot and heat while stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, and the syrup is boiling, continue heating over medium-high heat without stirring. When the syrup is at about 235F/ 112C begin beating egg whites on medium speed, till they form firm shiny peaks (if this happens to early, just continue beating on low till the syrup is ready).  When syrup reaches 242f/115c, with the mixer on at medium speed, carefully pour the hot syrup into the egg whites (stand back a little in case it splatters, and do not scrape any splatters into the egg whites).  
4. Add the vanilla and keep beating on medium speed until the frosting reaches room temperature – this will take at least 5 minutes.  When you’re done it should look smooth and shiny.  This can be refrigerated for 30 minutes, (or up to one day) or used immediately.
Note: After boiling, it took my syrup about 12 minutes to reach the desired temperature.  So be patient, but watch closely

Final assembly of the cupcakes:
Pipe marshmallow frosting onto cupcakes (using a zip lock bag or piping bag).
If you have one, use a small kitchen blow torch and gently toast the tops of each cupcake.  This will make your kitchen smell deliciously like toasted marshmallows.  It is worth buying a blow torch just for this purpose J.

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